Let’s give the hairspray industry a bit of a re-spray, shall we? These aerosols and spritzers have previously been poorly received (crunching? no thanks!) — but they’ve been given a major revamp in recent years.
Now, you’ll find an endless buffet of vertical products all boasting to volumize, shine and hold your blow dryer-created bounce.
The tricky part: it’s quite difficult to compare hairsprays side-by-side, much ado to its intent and use. How can we really assess if one hairspray is better than the rest?
In short, the best hairspray for you may not be the best hairspray for me, which is why I rigorously tested 17 top brands on the market to see which ones produced the most long-lasting, volumious and shine-worthy hold.
For volume, especially, check out our reviews of the best shampoos and best hair mousses as well.
“When it comes to different textures of hair curly for instance, I want something flexible that also has some anti-humidity protection,” Angel Cardona, ACoLab Salon owner and Sebastian Professional top artist, told the New York Post. “For finer hair I tend to lean towards a very lightweight natural finish hairspray without too much hold. With thicker hair it really comes down to the finished look, and if I need something strong to hold the hair up and not move or if I want it to still bounce and move about and have more flexibility.”
Cardona answered some more burning questions on hairsprays — including what to look for and its benefits — in our in-depth FAQ section after our review. First, discover the method behind the at-home testing and which ones made the cut (spoiler alert: my hair styles have never lasted for longer, making this one of the most special reviews yet).
How we tested
Before diving into the review criteria New York Post Shopping set in place when testing and trying all the top hairsprays on the market for at least two months — with some for more than a year — l’ll begin by detailing my hair type. Naturally, I have wavy to curly hair that’s sometimes prone to frizz (though, it has its oily moments at times if I go longer than two days without a wash). My hair blow dries straight when styling, too.
Simply put, my mane is a mutt of different types and textures — making my hair one of the best to review a wide set of hairsprays for volume, long-lasting hold and salon-worthy results.
Ahead, here’s what I looked for when trying out each hairspray:
- Smoothness: Above all else, we don’t want crunchy hair. Spraying each bottle a few inches away from my hair, I assessed how my hair felt after each spray (or two).
- Shine: Some hairsprays, impressively, give your hair a lovely salon-worthy shine. I took note of how vivacious my hair looked after each spray.
- Long-lasting hold: Over the course of the day, I made note of when my blowout began to loose its shape, if applicable. This helped determine which ones are best for a variety of hair types.
Best Hairsprays We Reviewed
1. Drybar Money Maker Flexible Hold Hairspray, $27
And the winner goes to…the Drybar Money Maker Flexible Hold Hairspray. I’ve been using this hairspray for more than a year and its fresh scent and effective hold is the trusty bottle you should have on hand.
Namely, I’ve noticed it has done a positive number on my naturally frizzy hair, thanks to its formulation containing prune oil to lightly condition, add some shine and fight humidity. Along with its shine, it has never left that awful crunch some other hairsprays do.
2. L’Oreal Paris Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold Hairspray, $15
I’ve been hearing about the L’Oreal Paris Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold Hairspray for years — and for a good reason. It’s relatively affordable, gives you much bang for your buck (read: best Amazon items under $25) and, as its name suggests, produces a light shine to your locks.
When used, I always know that my blowout will hold for the majority of the day without my hair having that terrible ‘hairspray smell.’ It’s also one of the best for taming flyaways.
3. Fekkai Clean Stylers Volumizing Hairspray, $26
If you want something that’s strong, has a salon-like scent and helps your hair remain nearly humidity-proof, the Fekkai Clean Stylers Volumizing Hairspray is the one to chase after. Aside from powerful volume — that’s quite outstanding, may I add — you’ll also appreciate how its formulation contains patented Solstice Propellant technology, the first earth-friendly, non-ozone depleting aerosol propellant.
What’s more, it’s rich in amino acid peptides to help prevent oxidative damage and aloe leaf juice that contains vitamins A, C and E to produce a subtle shine. For less than $30, it’s well worth the price tag.
4. Kristin Ess Ultra Fine Workable Hairspray, $15
I am virtually obsessed with all of Kristin Ess’ hair products. Most are well-priced for less than $25 at Target and they all have a salon-leaning scent that’s impeccable for the price. Its Ultra Fine Workable Hairspray is one of the best to snag on a budget, thanks to its proprietary Zip-Up Technology designed to ‘zip up’ split ends while targeting weak areas of the hair.
That said, I found it a stellar product for giving me that easy-spray shine and a firm hold for at least eight hours. My hair felt smooth and bouncy all day, too, and you’ll appreciate how it’s cruelty free and vegan, too.
5. Bumble and bumble Spray de Mode Flexible Hold Hairspray, $34
Ah, if it isn’t for Bumble and bumble for creating another spectacular hair product: its Spray de Mode Flexible Hold Hairspray. I’ve been using the brand to help reinvigorate and style my naturally curly hair for years, and I’m surprised I haven’t used this product sooner.
What to know? It comes in a massive bottle — offering you much value for your spend — and provides a quite flexible hold. Whether you want to add tighter curls to your natural waves or create a full-on Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show-style blowout, this is the real deal.
I love how the nozzle produces a fine mist with every use. With that in mind, it’s impressively buildable and effective for many different hairstyles and textures.
6. Kevin Murphy Bedroom Hair Flexible Texturizing Hairspray, $37 to $40
Kevin Murphy, thank you. The brand’s Bedroom Hair Flexible Texturizing Hairspray is a splurge, but offers that no-hairspray hair look that’s most akin to a no-product style. Ingredient-wise, it contains ginger root extract — used by Ayurvedic practitioners for centuries — that helps strengthen and condition your hair.
Compared to other hairsprays tested, it’s beautifully lightweight and makes my hair feel in place and airy with each use. Additionally, it’s cruelty free.
7. Andrew Fitzsimons Touch Soft Hold Hairspray, $16
Andrew Fitzsimons is a brand you shouldn’t be sleeping on — especially for hairspray. This celebrity hairstylist came out with his Touch Soft Hold Hairspray that is one of the easiest to use and one I don’t even think about; I just grab it (a bit more than some others in this edit) and feel confident it will last.
Specifically, this vegan formulation works with your hair type to provide a flexible lock-and-hold that’ll never let you down. In turn, it’s truly worth the $16 price and is conveniently travel-friendly, thanks to its slim bottle.
8. Sebastian Professional Shaper Plus Extra Hold Hairspray, $21 to $23
Sebastian Professional brings affordable luxury right to your bathroom counter, as is the case with the brand’s Shaper Plus Extra Hold Hairspray. Larger-than-life bottle aside, it’s one I grew up using since high school and has been in my hairspray rotation ever since.
Wonderfully, it’s one of the longest-lasting formulas I tested (I also kept tousling my hair all day because I was so impressed by the softness). If you’re looking for a quality spray that’s especially workable on thicker hair types. this is one of your best bets.
9. Oribe Superfine Hair Spray, $42 to $44
Oribe’s products are investment-worthy, as I can attest after testing a handful for months. The Superfine Hair Spray is perfect for targeted hairstyles — for example, tending to baby hairs or a specific region of your hair to hold. It’s also quite impressive for volume.
This vegan formulation smells amazing, too, and offers a light to medium hold that I found to be effectively buildable. It even offers UV protection, too, especially beneficial for the warmer months.
10. Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Working Hairspray, $38
Growing up in the pageant world, the Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Working Hairspray was one I always packed in my backstage bag. This fact alone should speak volumes to its long-lasting hold, as it held up for all of my dancing performances and offsite interviews.
Now, I still use it and adore the results. Though it doesn’t have a lavender or salon-leaning smell (it just smells like straight-up hairspray), I find its staying power tough to beat on days where I need an all-day hold.
11. Virtue 6-in-1 Style Guard Hairspray, $38
Virtue’s products are impressive (spoiler alert: the brand’s hair mousse is the best I tested). After many times using that product, I’ll follow up post-blowout with the 6-in-1 Style Guard Hairspray. With an iconic scent and workable feel, it’s not too heavy nor too lightweight.
This Goldilocks-grade hairspray also provides anti-pollution protection, humidity control and ingredients that contain UV protection. More, the formulation carries the brand’s proprietary Alpha Keratin 60ku protein complex — which, in my opinion, gives it the ultimate it-factor, if so willing to make the splurge.
12. Moroccanoil Luminous Strong Hairspray, $26
I’m going to cut to the chase — if you want your hair to smell like a tropical island, pick up all of Moroccanoil’s products and call it a day. Namely, its Luminous Strong Hairspray is one that has been sitting in my bathroom cabinet for years and I’m proud to say it’s one I recommend to everyone IRL.
Not only will it provide an effective hold but it’s also argan oil-infused, helping to tame frizz and provide a sunny shine. It’s great on all hair types and textures, too.
13. Living Proof Control Hairspray, $30
As a premium haircare brand you simply have to try, the Living Proof Control Hairspray is a fairly priced formulation that offers a medium-hold staying power that is crunch-free. What’s great about this one is, even after brushing my hair, it remained intact.
This hairspray also doubles as a heat protectant up to 410 degrees Fahrenheit, on top of it being vegan, sulfate-free, silicone-free and color-safe. In short, it’s a powerful formula with a wealth of tangible benefits.
14. Color Wow Cult Favorite Firm + Flexible Hairspray, $26
One word: wow. As its namesake suggests, the Color Wow Cult Favorite Firm + Flexible Hairspray is one I initially predicted would weigh my hair down. Instead, it’s one of the best for shine I tested.
For a medium-hold hairspray that’s workable on all hair types and textures, this formulation impressed me. It’s great for volume, equally as wonderful for UV protection and is safe to use on color-treated hair. It sprays light, too, so it’s buildable as desired.
15. Kérastase Laque Couture Medium Hold Hairspray, $32
If you’ve heard of Kérastase before, you’ll likely see a pattern with its haircare: most of its products help produce shine, repair hair damage and tame frizz — and those attributes come through (or should I say, spray through) with its Laque Couture Medium Hold Hairspray.
Offering heat protection and UV protection, it’s the most similar to Color Wow in that it’s conscious intent focuses on color-treated hair and targeting different haircare needs. However, my hair isn’t color-treated and I love using this one, so it’s one to consider if you want to curate an at-home salon experience.
16. Not Your Mother’s She’s A Tease Volumizing Hairspray, $7
As the most affordable hairspray on this list, the Not Your Mother’s She’s A Tease Volumizing Hairspray gets the job done, and does the job well. Truthfully, my hairstyles never falter with this spray, but it doesn’t provide a tangible shine to my hair. That said, it’s a winner in my book for its efficacy at just $7, it’s crunch-free spray and well-scented formula.
17. Pureology Style + Protect Soft Finish Hairspray, $31
My hairdresser has been using the Pureology Style + Protect Soft Finish Hairspray, so I started using it to see if it would provide that fresh-and-clean feeling when I styled my hair at home. It did, in fact, and I love its minty aroma it leaves behind.
It’s one of the best for color-treated hair and will last quite a while, thanks to its large bottle. It’s also vegan and fast-drying (in other words, it won’t weigh your hair down if you like to spray a lot of it).
An FAQ on Hairsprays
Ahead, Cardona gives us the 411 on all things hairsprays: what to look for, how to apply, how often to use and more.
What are the benefits of hairspray?
When it comes to hairspray there are many benefits. Most commonly, they’re beloved and used for the control they bring to help form and hold your hair in shape.
“Some hairsprays are considered working hairsprays that have a lighter hold and are very flexible and others are firm or freezing sprays that lock your style in place,” Cardona told The Post. “Some can be used similar to a root lifter and others to combat and protect against humidity by shielding away moisture in the air.”
What to look for in hairspray, according to a hairstylist
“When it comes to picking the right hairspray, I always like to think of what the finished look will be and which hairspray will best get me to that desired look,” he shares. “Reach for a lighter hairspray for finer more natural looks and a stronger hairspray for more gravity defying looks.”
Not to mention, some of the best hair conditioners we tested can help you achieve some added softness and repair.
What’s the difference between hairspray and texture spray?
The main difference between hairsprays and texture sprays is that a hairspray is truly meant more for control and a texture spray is meant to create a bit of roughness or grit to alter your natural texture to allow for a more textured look.
“Oftentimes sea salt, sugar or powders help to add that texture within the texture spray,” Cardona adds.
How to properly apply hairspray, according to a hairstylist
“A general rule of thumb when it comes to hairspray is to spray either 12 inches from your hair or the length of the can,” he advises. “When it comes to spritzes or non-aerosol hairsprays, I do two sprays at a time and move on to the next sections and see how that holds before adding any more.”
For aerosol hairsprays, Cardona recommends motioning the can in the direction you want the hair to go as you’re spraying, holding the nozzle down just for second or two unless you’re really trying to defy gravity (cue “Wicked”).
How often should I use hairspray?
“I use hairspray after finishing a style or working it into some curls or waves throughout the styling process and again when finished,” Cardona shares.
If by the next day your hair still looks great and you just simply need to brush it back into shape, simply give it a spritz when you’re finished shaping it just to last throughout the day.
How can I tell if hairspray lasts?
Depending on what you want the hairspray to do for your style and as long as you are using the right one for that look, it should last you throughout the day weather permitting.
“If you find your hair flattening out too quickly, opt for a stronger hold and possibly with some humidity protection, or you may need a bit of texture spray beforehand to add a bit of gritty-ness,” Cardona says. “It’s also a great idea to keep a little travel size hairspray on hand for quick touch ups if you plan to head out after work to dinner.”
How to know if your hairspray bottle has gone bad, according to a hairstylist
If you’re noticing a decline in its effectiveness or if the aerosol leaked out and will no longer spray, then unfortunately your hairspray has gone bad, according to Cardona.
Check out the New York Post Shopping section for more content.